I believe that everyone is entitled to one soap which they can be as addicted to as they like. No one should be criticised for one harmless addiction – more than that, and the phrase ‘get a life’ might rear its ugly head.
My soap is ‘The Archers’. I have an excuse since three of my best friends have written for it over the years: now Mary Cutler, old schoolfriend and skilled dramatist, is the longest-serving scriptwriter on it.
Anyway, I was delighted to hear a beautiful poem on the Archers the other day, The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy. Is it their first foray into poetry? It gave the right hint of hope in in this dark wet month. Here in Amblerley we have snowdrops too to cheer us up. Now, what was the poem I learned about them at school….? They say you never forget poetry learnt in childhood. I wish it was true. So I’m copying the Hardy poem here, while I still have it in my mind. Happy Spring, everyone!
The Darkling Thrush
by Thomas Hardy
I leant upon a coppice gate
When Frost was spectre-grey,
And Winter's dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.
The land's sharp features seemed to be
The Century's corpse outleant,
His crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind his death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervourless as I.
At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited;
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
In blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.
So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
And I was unaware.